The X-Files (1993– )
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Zero Sum 

A swarm of bees mysteriously kill a postal worker in an enclosed restroom. Assistant Director Skinner covers up the evidence. Mulder investigates Skinner's apparent involvement with the crime.


Kim Manners


Chris Carter (created by), Howard Gordon | 1 more credit »

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Episode complete credited cast:
David Duchovny ... Fox Mulder
Gillian Anderson ... Dana Scully (credit only)
Mitch Pileggi ... Walter Skinner
William B. Davis ... Smoking Man
Laurie Holden ... Marita Covarrubias
Nicolle Nattrass ... Misty Nagata
Paul Anthony McLean ... Special Agent Kautz (as Paul McLean)
Fred Keating ... Detective Ray Thomas
Allan Gray ... Dr. Peter Valedespino
Addison Ridge Addison Ridge ... Bespectacled Boy
Don S. Williams ... 1st Elder
Lisa Stewart ... Jane Brody
Barry Greene ... Dr. Emile Linzer
Christopher Newton ... Photo Technician (as Christopher J. Newton)
Morris Panych ... Gray Haired Man


Mulder is contacted by a local police detective who thinks he has an x-files type case for him to look into. A U.S. postal worker who had sneaked into the washroom for a cigarette was killed by numerous bee stings, though there were no bees to be found. Before Mulder can even begin to look into the case, someone is going around erasing the evidence in the washroom and even some of the blood samples taken from the victim. The person doing the erasing however is Assistant Director Skinner who seems to have made a pact with the Cigarette Smoking Man. Written by garykmcd

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TV-14 | See all certifications »






Release Date:

27 April 1997 (USA) See more »

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Did You Know?


Gillian Anderson has the record of appearing in the most episodes of the series missing only the following five: Mulder's solo episode The X-Files: 3 (1994) (although Scully is briefly referred to in the dialogue), Skinner's episode The X-Files: Zero Sum (1997), The Lone Gunmen's episode The X-Files: Unusual Suspects (1997), the flashback episode The X-Files: Travelers (1998) and Agent Doggett's solo episode The X-Files: The Gift (2001). An additional unique instance is The X-Files: Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man (1996) where only the voice of Scully (and Mulder) is heard during the plot's present timeline. Scully does appear on screen briefly, but it's in a flashback scene edited from The X-Files: Pilot (1993). See more »


Cigarette Smoking Man: Yours isn't the first gun I've had pointed at my face, Mr. Skinner.
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The X-Files
Written by Mark Snow
Performed by John Beal
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User Reviews

Vague Assurances
21 September 2006 | by MuldernscullySee all my reviews

Zero Sum is the second Skinner-oriented episode in the x-files. Avatar was the first and the story for this episode continues on the theme from Avatar, of Skinner being blackmailed by the cigarette smoking man. The storyline, however, continues on from Memento Mori, dealing with Scully's cancer. Scully(Gillian Anderson), actually takes a break from this episode and we never see her. Mulder says that she is undergoing testing in the hospital. An episode just isn't the same without her. Even so, Zero Sum is a tight, suspenseful episode, leaving you on the edge of your seat, wondering whether Agent Mulder will discover Skinner's part in the cover-up of the x-file. The music by Mark Snow sets the mood very well. Mitch Pileggi does an excellent job when asked to take on the bulk of the acting. He's doing unethical things in order to help out Scully. The cigarette smoking man also has a larger part in this episode. It is quite interesting to see the slow deterioration in his relationship with the syndicate. You see it begin in earlier mythology episodes, and it continues in Zero Sum, which leads to certain events in a later mythology episode. I like to see continuity like that. It's not often that you see the cigarette smoking man rattled, but Skinner manages to do that to him. Overall, Zero Sum is carried well by Skinner and Mulder with absence of Scully, helping us delve even deeper into the mind of Skinner, and see what lengths he'll go to to help out his friends.

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